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will be slimming the military budget, something hagel has had no qualms about in the past. in a 2011 interview with "the financial times" hagel said, "the defense has gotten everything it's wanted the last ten years and more. there's a tremendous amount of bloat in the pentagon and that has to be scaled back." hagel would also be tasked with managing the withdrawal of 66,000 u.s. troops from afghanistan by 2014. it is a position on which hagel has disagreed with the president, having opposed obama's troop surge in his first term, but it is on the issue of the iraq invasion that hagel has dramatically severed ties with his own party. a defection likely to cause some problems on the right along with earlier statements on the "jewish lobby." regardless of all of this, the white house thinks hagel's nomination will pass. talking points circulated by the administration earlier this morning highlight hagel's combat service, his bipartisan appeal
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